08 September 2014

Items to Share: 7 September 2014

Education Focus
  • #ResearchED – Everything you know about education is wrong | David Didau: The Learning Spy (Conference presentation, 6 September 2014) 'At this point I ran through some of the compelling reasons there might be to indicate that we’re all wrong, all the time. We considered various physiological and psychological blind spots all of which prevent us from perceiving reality as it really is and from spotting where we’ve gone wrong. As Henri Bergson said, “The eyes see only what the brain is prepared to comprehend.” The most alarming of these intellectual confounds is the bias blindspot; the fact that even when we understand our limitations we still fail to spot the flaws in our thinking.'
  • A Post About ESOL for Non-ESOL People | Sam Shepherd 'ESOL is not literacy. Literacy is not ESOL. There may be some similarities in subject and on methodology, and things both fields can learn from each other, but the overlap is pretty small. What an ESOL learner has to learn about grammar is far far more profound than what a literacy learner needs to learn. Word order, tense structure, a good working vocabulary of a few thousand words( things like that, things which are, for the majority of adult literacy learners, already developed. Learning a language is not the same as learning to read and write in a language you already know.
      • Cherry Picking | Webs of Substance  More on the argument about direct teaching and inquiry-based, constructivist methods—fraught as usual with straw people and mutual deafness, and lousy research methods. Even so, a good overview of the debate, with some good thoughts about the differences between HE and schooling.  And:
      • Inquiry | Webs of Substance 'As Pinker suggests with respect to maths, it is apparent that anything worth doing requires a lot of hard work which is not immediately rewarding. This is why people tend to do better in life if they can defer gratification. In addition, until you know something about an area of study then you are unlikely to find it particularly interesting. [...] Interest grows with knowledge. And it is one of progressive education’s deep ironies that the things children really do have an innate interest in – the existence of aliens, dinosaurs, battles, king and queens, foul diseases, space, whether there’s a God – tend to get displaced from Inquiry based programmes in favour of those wet paper towels.'
        • Those Magical and Mysterious Learning Moments | Faculty Focus 'Reinsmith notes that learning moments cannot be forced. “… not even the most outstanding teacher can summon a learning moment. The most we can do is fashion a context for them.” He thinks we do that by avoiding rigidity and fostering “a sense of ease; where a certain lightness, even playfulness reigns.” Reinsmith recommends that we “… stay open, keeping our minds nimble. Most of all we must learn to abandon what we thought was important and surrender to [learning moments] serendipitous nature. Put succinctly, teachers … must learn to live on the balls of their feet, expecting the unexpected.”' 
        • Comparing uni grades: is a distinction always a distinction? 'Perhaps the biggest concern for students in higher education aside from the cost is their grades. Grades influence retention and attrition rates, scholarships, future employability and a sense of identity and self-worth. But how can a student be sure that the distinction they received is comparable to the distinction their mate received at the university down the road? Or even in the next class?
        Other Business
        • A Giant Appears At The Edge Of An African Roadway : Krulwich Wonders... : NPR '...this is what a public sculpture should be: It should shift, play and be continuously engaging. Time robs most monuments of their original significance. [...] the Statue of Liberty was originally built as an anti-slavery message, a statement by republican France that it was siding with the Union and emancipation. There is, he says, a "broken slave shackle around Liberty's foot" that is now hardly noticed,'
        • What's a Metaphor For? - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education 'Writing about metaphor is dancing with your conceptual clothes off, the innards of your language exposed by equipment more powerful than anything operated by the TSA. Still, one would be a rabbit not to do it in a world where metaphor is now top dog, at least among revived rhetorical devices with philosophical appeal. ' 
        • The Case of the Sinister Buttocks – Lingua Franca - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education (Geoffrey Pullum) 'The common mature musicians also the recent liturgy providers are looking to satisfy additional Herculean, personalised liturgies to tarry fore of the conflict. [...] this strange sentence['s...] reference to musicians and liturgies might suggest a musical or religious theme. But no, this sentence, in a senior thesis submitted by an undergraduate to a London-area university, purported to be about business information systems.'

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